tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC September 19, 2012 10:00am-11:00am PDT
provision that mitt romney keeps talking about lowering income taxes will not be attractive to them and those dependent on dpofts and think government's job is to redistribute, i'm not going to get them. >> president obama hit back on david letterman. >> i don't know what he was referring to, but i can tell you this -- when i won in 2008, 47% of the american people voted for john mccain. one of the things i've learned as president is, you represent the entire country. >> more republicans are dista e distancing themselves from the romney comments. and how about this explanation from running mate paul ryan. >> he was obviously inarticulate in making this point and the point we're trying to make here is, under the obama economy, government dependency is up and economic stagnation is up. >> you think governor romney regrets saying what he did? >> oh, i think he would have said it differently, that's for sure. but the point still stands.
>> 48 days to go, our new nbc news/"wall street journal" poll shows president obama has a five-point lead among likely voters. who's still up for grabs? what did clint eastwood think about his appearance with that chair? >> i just was having fun. you figure somebody asked you to go to -- somebody is dumb enough to ask me to go to a political convention and say something, they're going to have to take what they get. >> good day. i'm andrea mitchell live in washington. mitt romney talking about something barack obama supposedly said 14 years ago, hoping to change the subject, from what romney said to wealthy donors in boca raton last may as captured on the hidden camera. with 48 days until election day romney faces challenges. according to our new nbc news swaults journal poll with the president hitting 50% approval, a first for president obama dead even with governor romney when
it comes to is better equipped to handle the economy, joining me for our daily fix, chris cizilla, and chuck todd, nbc news political director and host of "the daily rundown." and chief white house correspondent. and chief poll meister. let's go to the polls. >> yeah. >> to the numbers, guys. chuck, first to you, what is the most significant take away from our new readings? >> it's a fact that two things. one is independents and its wasn't just democrats that became more optimistic about the economy, but a good chunk of independents did too, whether it was on the indicators of are you going to be better off over the next 12 months, country headed in the right track. what was interesting is how it helped boost the president's numbers, even as he got sort of -- even as some independents soured on him on foreign policy that didn't affect the ballot test. it's a reminder the foreign policy it's a yellow flag, but it's not a red flag because it
doesn't seem to be having any impact on the ballot. all the economic numbers as you saw improvement on optimism seemed to have a direct impact on the president's numbers itself and got him to 50 job approval. tells you what his goals were at the convention met his goal. does he sustain it? >> this poll would not have captured any reaction to the hidden video. >> none on that but it does capture the two conventions. >> foreign policy. >> the middle east crisis. so -- and that's why you see a drop in his foreign policy. but at the same time it had no impact on the ballot. an increase from what we had a month ago. it sort of -- peter hart described it, the cement is starting to dry. the question is, is it going to dry before the debates or not? >> we all know that things can still happen. we've got 48 days. we've got three debates and a vice presidential debate. chris cizilla when peter hart says the cement is starting to dry, who is still persuadable? those who are still up for grabs, if you bill, is the
phrase he used on the "the daily rundown" with chuck. that number is down to 12%. tell us -- >> right. >> what both camps are trying to do to reach that 12%. >> i think if they -- if they knew a message that could reach all that 12%, you'd be seeing it every media appearance, every television ad, radio ad, everything you could get. the problem with it, andrea, from a campaign perspective, the people who still haven't made up their mind or are persuadable, for someone but could change, number one, it's small and think about it, it's small nationally, even smaller in the swij stawin states. you're not talking about that many people, in the nine or ten swing states it's not a huge number. number two, a lot of these people are low information voters which is they don't consume lots of news about politics, don't watch lots of events. they fast forward, maybe that's everybody at this point, skip through the ads when they're taping. >> we don't like those people. >> purposely -- >> no.
>> they are purposely not paying that close attention which if you're trying to reach them and you're a campaign, you got to throw your hands up at some point and say what can we do to find these people and convince them we're the right person. >> andrea, but you asked this question what are they trying to do for the middle. i don't know what romney is trying to do to persuade the middle. i don't see it. >> where has he been the last few days. i understand there was a problem at the pueblo colorado airport on sunday, so he couldn't do the colorado rally. since friday, until he gets to florida tonight, he has not had a retail event, chris cizilla, he has not been doing the kind of intensive campaigning that you would think he would be trying to do to close the deal? >> no. salt lake city and dallas yesterday, raising money. i always caveat by saying in an election the first election we've had since watergate where both candidates are not being publicly financed you need a lot of money to run for president. that said, i don't think what
mitt romney needs right now is to be doing more fund-raisers. i think he needs to go out there and chuck and i have talked about this on and off camera, go out and start just campaign, campaign, campaign, campaign. i talked to republican consultants who said what he needs to do, hit back. some of that redistribution video you mentioned some of that is him trying to hit back. you need to be present, to be saying things, giving people positive headlines to write about. you can't just sit back and go to fund-raisers because while the money is important it's not going to help you solve the messaging problem. it's not a fund-raising problem for mitt romney, it's a messaging problem. going to fund-raisers isn't going to solve that let's explain this redistribution issue. we have not authenticated this 14-year-old tape from loyola college when barack obama was a state senator. so because we have not independently at nbc news and msnbc authenticated it, we're not airing it. but the basic issue is, they're accusing president obama as john
sue new new said to me of class war fair, trying to change the subject, chuck. >> it is. this to me feels more about look at where they distributed it, they went to the drudge report to make sure the audio got out there. this is about reapussuring the base, they spent a lot of time over the last 48 hours making calls to donors, conference calls, calm everybody down, don't flee the ship, it's been a rough couple weeks, the convention could have gone better but hey, as bad as it is, take the worst poll out there, we're only down five or six points. this is not -- >> but let's -- >> i want to make a point about fund-raising. it is amazing to me that yesterday, let's talk about both schedules, the president had to spend his day in new york raising money, and mitt romney had to spend his day in dallas and salt lake ti two important places for him to raise money and we're in september. and it just seems to me, i just think, i can't believe both principles are having to spend this much time raising money.
they need it -- >> something wrong with the system. >> it's like guys, you got to -- it seems to be more time -- i'm sure they both would rather be campaigning. i do think that romney's schedule, seems to be too much fund-raisers and not enough -- >> let me just bring up peggy noonan's latest blog on the romney campaign. she writes, it's time to admit the romney campaign is an incompetent one, not big, brave, not thoughtfully tackling issues. all the activists, party supporters and big donors should be pushing for change. people want to focus at who at the top is most responsible. fine but mitt romney is no puppet. he chooses whom to listen to. mitt, this isn't working. >> these interventions have happened multiple times from what i understand in various forms, not like -- but you've had people, his friends at bain or different outsiders who are saying, what's going on here? and he's been the one to reassure them. there are a lot of his friends have a lot of confidence in mitt romney. at the end of the day they think
look what he did at the olympics, what he did at bain or a lot of people that had a lot of doubt at bain. there is a lot of confidence in him and he's always able to sort of tell these interventionists i got this, don't worry. but you look at it and -- >> 48 days and counting. chris cizilla. >> i was just going to say, it's convenient i think always to blame the campaign. it seems to me the candidate gets the campaign that they get. a lot of people said hillary clinton was ill served by her campaign in 2008, should have won. hillary clinton's name was ultimately on it. on the campaign and it was her who was out there. if mitt romney wants change he needs to make it. it feels like you're bad at tennis, it's not your athletic fault. it's the fault of the racket. like ultimately you're the person who chooses what pieces you put in place. what you say, where you say them. i think blame the campaign structure if you want, but ultimately it's about can the candidate sell him or herself and put a campaign in place that maximizes their strength, and minimizes their weaknesses. that's how you win. it's not about a campaign
structure, kind of winning a race if the candidate isn't winning it for him or herself. >> chris cizilla, thanks so much. chuck todd, thank you for being here. and up next, team obama, what about that redistribution charge. we'll talk to national press secretary ben lebolt. still ahead, will france set off another round of middle east protests? former ambassador chris hill. this is "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc. welcome aboard! [ chuckles ] ♪ [ honk! ] ♪ [ honk! ] ♪ [ honk! ] ♪ [ male announcer ] now you'll know when to stop. [ honk! ] the all-new nissan altima with easy fill tire alert. [ honk! ] it's our most innovative altima ever. nissan. innovation that excites. ♪
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msnbc we have not verified the accuracy of that tape from loyola so we are not playing it. but it is a whole issue, you know, jay carney has now responded to it at the white house briefing. he said that this was basically circumstances after a very bad day by the obama team. the romney team rather that the charge was based on a 14-year-old video sounds very familiar to one that was tried and failed in 2008, 14 years ago president obama was making arguments for a more efficient, more effective government, specifically citing city government agencies he did not think were working effectively, carney went on he believed then and now there are steps we can take to promote opportunity and ensure all americans have a fair shot if they work hard. the basic charge that is being made by the romney team is that president obama believes in redistributing the wealth, that this is class war fair. i want to give you a chance to respond to it. >> well, first, jay pointed this out they were so desperate to change the subject from their
candidate writing off half of the american people that they dug up a 14-year-old video that -- in which then senator obama talks about the radical notion we can make government more effective to promote opportunity why he's done things like invest in student loans. want to talk about redistribution, governor romney and congressman ryan would redistribute wealth from middle class families to the wealthiest americans. the president has cut taxes for middle-class families by $3600. mitt romney and paul ryan would raise taxes on them by $2,000 to pay for tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. >> at this stage, you are basically five points up in our new nbc news/"wall street journal" polls among likely voters but this is close. it's a very close race. what about the fact that you've lost a few points on foreign policy, given the events of the last week, does that distress you? is that of a concern? >> well in terms of foreign policy i've seen some analysis
today that says those numbers reflect the partisan split in the election as election day approaches. i think we've seen the choice on foreign policy crystallized over the past couple months. you've got a commander in chief who said he would end the war in iraq in a responsible way, done that, refocus on al qui, key terrorist leaders have been taken off the battlefield, a plan to end the war in afghanistan and he's worked to restore alliances around the world and you've now seen governor romney on the world stage, he's been unsteady, alienated our closest ally, he's weighed in on sensitive international situations without a full set of facts, as they develop, and if you're looking for a strong and steady commanders in chief, i think americans will side with the president of the united states. >> i wanted to also play a little bit of what mitt romney said on taxes on fox today. >> i do believe that we should have enough jobs and enough take home pay such that people have
the privilege of higher incomes that allow them to be paying taxes. i think people would like to be paying taxes. >> ben, is that an effective response on the 47% comments? >> well, governor romney certainly talked before about how the fact that he personally tries to pay the lowest rate possible. look, medium -- median incomes have started to go up over the past year. the question americans have who has the plan to restore economic security for the middle class and sustainable jobs for the middle class. we haven't heard that from mitt romney. he would return to the same policies that caused the economic crisis in the first place and devastated the middle class. the fact is the president is out there, he's got a plan to invest in education and research and development and manufacturing, reduce the deficit, in a balanced way to create these good-paying, sustainable jobs for the middle class and that's why you see in your own polling that romney's former advantage on the economy has now been
erased. >> but getting back to a possible disadvantage or less of an advantage on foreign policy, the romney campaign and other outside bipartisan critics can say the president has done nothing on the palestinian/israeli issue, that we have issues of embassy security, that he's heading into next week with iran having moved far closer to developing the capability at least for nuclear weapons program if they choose to make that decision. you've got a lot of things up in the air around the world that don't look good and feel right and problems with -- >> you've -- >> more insider killings in afghanistan. >> you heard on the tapes released this week that it's mitt romney who would walk away from the peace process. mitt romney has been critical of the president on iran. but he hasn't said what he'd do differently. he hasn't been able to identify one thing he would do differently short of military
action. shortly in response to the events overseas in the past week, we've seen the president ensure that our diplomatic boosts and american personnel in the region are secure, reached out to international leaders to ensure that they were condemning the violence that they saw in the regions and meeting their security obligations to our embassies. again, i think you've seen that the president's been steady and governor romney is somebody who weighed in as the situation was developing, without a full set of facts and he's been roundly criticized for that. >> ben la bolt from the obama campaign headquarters, thank you very much. and up next, we have our politico briefing, republicans airing their doubts about their candidate. this is "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc. bob...
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from those comments, comments they think could hurt their chances in november. politico editor in chief john harris joins me now. john, we've heard already now from linda mcmahon in connecticut and you've heard from scott brown in massachusetts. let me see, scott brown said as someone who grew up in tough circumstances i know that being on public assistance is not a spot that anyone wants to be in. linda mcmahon, i disagree with governor romney's insinuation that 47% of americans believe they are victims who must depend on the government in their care. from chris christie at a town hall may have said it's about something else but it's obviously a signal. >> i'm the governor of every citizen in this state, not just the ones who voted for me, but the governor of every citizen of our state. >> and lindsey graham in south carolina, about romney, he needs to be talking about the economy and not in utah. he's not going to get beat because of money. he ought to be running in ohio
and florida like running for governor and running in virginia like he's running for sheriff. >> right. >> so take it from there. there's a lot of, perhaps, unwanted advice but some of it seems to be rather useful advice. >> right. and there's just no question there's deep, deep anxiety about romney's comments and as jonathan martin and maggie haberman in their politico story said, not just the comments, anybody can be taken out of context especially in this sort of undercover hot mike moment like this, but the way he's responded. he hasn't fully embraced the comments and said, no here's what i really mean and think, and hasn't fully distanced himself, i'm sorry, i screwed up. caught in the no man's land and it's clearly been a distraction for 48 hours and under this trajectory, probably got more time that it's been cycled. >> they've tried to change the comme subject to the redistribution. we have not authenticated that tape. it is 14 years ago.
it is a stretch. no matter what the president said back then when a state senator is it a stretch to try to, you know, create some equivalency here. >> it might be. also and the thing is, i think we all know what romney was trying to say and he's acknowledged it was -- he stated his thoughts inelegantly. if you read obama's comments, i don't actually think they're that much different than what he stands for today. he would never use the word redistribution but he did even at the time in context say redistribution in order to give people more opportunity. in other words, not redistribute to sort of spread the wealth, but make sure that other people have a hand up so they can be wealth producers. even 14 years ago obama said something more like what i think romney would say, he meant to say. >> now, what about romney's campaign schedule, given the fact that he is at least in our poll falling a bit behind and that's not to say things can't change tomorrow or the next day, why is he spending time in salt
lake city and dallas raising money, when he needs to be in battleground states? >> obviously reflects the calculation on the campaign's part that this race will be, in fact, largely about a resource war in the final weeks. the romney campaign does fundamentally believe this is still a national campaign. in other words, if they could change perceptions, broad perceptions of romney nationally, then they would see those numbers and the individual states they need to win go up. it's a somewhat different calculation than obama has made. obama feels like look, everybody knows who i am, they've got an opinion about me and so, therefore, it's trench warfare in the individual states, ohio talk about manufacturing and the auto industry, florida, medicare and retirees. >> and what about any shakeup, because we read whether ed gillespie is now more in charge than stuart stevens, what do you think is going on behind the scenes? >>s this feels like a pretty familiar pattern in campaigns
where things are not going well. you'll remember andrea, in 2004, kerry was wobbly, the old clinton gang, late in the campaign, was around this time in 2004. when you get in trouble and the sort of chorus of professional republican operatives in washington sort of complaining inevitably what happens is one of theirs comes in and tries to sort of help right the ship. it generally doesn't have dramatic effects, that is, if there are structural problems wrong with the campaign, september is not the time to fix them. >> john harris with our politico briefing, thank you very much. >> thanks a lot. and how are we going to protect our embassies? we'll talk to someone who has been there and seen it all and send me your thoughts on facebook and twitte twitter @mitchellreports. this is "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc. your moi? [ female announcer ] dermatologist recommended aveeno has an oat formula, now proven to build a moisture reserve, so skin can replenish itself. that's healthy skin for life. only from aveeno.
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negotiations, teachers voted overwhelmingly to end the strike and approve a tentative contract. teachers say the contract is still not perfect but heading back to school while they get ready to put it to a final vote. mayor rahm emanuel called the deal an honest compromise. secretary of defense leon panetta met with china's leader in waiting today. who just reappeared after a puzzling two week absence. part of panetta's week-long trip through asia to pursue the u.s.'s increased military focus in the region. of course arriving just as the u.s. is hitting china on trade issues. myanmar democracy leader aung san suu kyi is going to receive the congressional gold medal today. congress's highest award, the nobel laureate and former political prisoner is going to meet privately with president obama. aung san suu kyi is in the united states for a 17-day long visit that includes a meegds with secretary of state hillary clinton on tuesday. the space shuttle
"endeavour" is making its final voyage atop a jumbo jet. nasa's youngest shuttle left kennedy space center and headed west to become a museum piece at the california science center in los angeles. hundreds of trees were chopped down to make way for the spacecraft's final 12 mile journey through l.a. for its new home. the center has agreed to replant four times as many trees to address an outcry from local residents. nasa retired its shuttle fleet last summer. and we've got developments about u.s. troops in afghanistan to report today. nbc's jim miklaszewski standing by at the pentagon and we will have a live report from kabul, from atia abawi. first, what is the state of the surge? >> the surge operation that was ordered by president obama on december 1st of 2009, ordering an additional 33,000 forces into afghanistan, an unpopular political decision at the time, that surge, while not officially
over, is essentially over. we're told that the remaining 200 to 300 troops that could be counted as part of that 33,000 surge operation, are literally packed up and waiting at the airport ready to leave. put the white house, the pentagon, the military, not ready to announce it officially. you know, by all stretch of the imagination, it was hard to believe in -- when president obama ordered the troops that the taliban actually controlled more territory in afghanistan in december of 2009, than they did before the invasion by u.s. forces in 2003. that's largely because, as you know, andrea, the bush administration largely ignored afghanistan for years while it turned all its attention, guns and money on iraq. so it was badly needed operation to turn back the advances of the taliban at that time, and while they did stop the advances, and
turn them back somewhat, they certainly haven't come anywhere near defeating the taliban. now the big question now is what happens next? defense secretary panetta has already predicted that all american combat troops could be out of afghanistan as early as the middle of next year. but given the current situation, with these insider attacks against u.s. troops, and the current suspension of some joint afghan/u.s. operations which are critical to any exit strategy, that timetable may be out the window. quite frankly, in afghanistan, you know, the middle of next year is pretty much forever away from now. andrea? >> indeed, it is. thanks so much for that update. more anti-american protests have broken out, several hundred lawyers in pakistan's capital broke into an area that houses the u.s. embassy and other foreign missions. police stopped them before they reached the u.s. embassy.
and in afghanistan, university students in jalalabad marched chanting anti-american slogans and burned an effigy of president obama. atia abawi in kabul, afghanistan. what do we know about the insider attacks and some of these other issues such as jalalabad? >> hi, andrea. the insider attacks a big issue here. the joint operations that mic mentioned obviously are still suspended here in afghanistan but large criticism now coming from the -- to the obama administration about that from senators john mccain, joe lieberman and senator lindsey graham. in a statement they blamed the obama administration saying we are concerned that the rush to build up the afghan national security forces as quickly as possible, so that u.s. forces could begin withdrawing on the administration's timetable, has contributed to the problem of the so-called insider attacks. they do have a point when it comes to the fact that they did
build up the afghan security forces much too quickly. a couple years ago the goal was to bring the afghan security forces to a level that was more than 300,000 and we said it two years ago and we've said it now, it seemed to be more about quantity than quality. i went to the training centers where they were recruiting these soldiers and police officers, and they were just villagers who were coming in. people who did not know anything about security forces, maybe it was someone who wanted a better salary and, obviously, the taliban said they used that opportunity to infiltrate the security forces. but at the same time, the obama administration conditions have the finger-pointed at them just by themselves. again, as mic pointed it was the bush administration who forget about the war for a very long time so right now, experts on afghanistan pointing the finger really at both administrations. an tree ya. >> atia abawi. joining us former u.s. ambassador to iraq, chris hill. ambassador hill, thank you very much, joining us from denver. at the university of denver as
the dean of the corebell school. let's talk first of all about this withdraw schedule from afghanistan. some will charge as john mccain and lindsey graham and senator lieberman are, that this was done too hastily, and that it put our troops at risk. your comment about that? >> well, you know, these are some of the same comments made when the bush administration administration was also trying to train up the iraqi army. you know, these training packages are not easy to put together. you know, i know the people have been involved with this. general petraeus was involved in training in iraq. it's a tough job to do. and i think they're trying to do the best they can. and i think it's prudent to try to do it as quickly as you can to get the force structure in there and then work with it as you get the force structure. so i'm not sure really now is the time to be critical. obviously these insider attacks have been very upsetting and actually they've now derailed some of the timetable for having
these joint operations. but, you know, i'm -- i don't think this is really a time to be critical frankly speaking. >> speaking of criticism and difficult times, as you know very well, some of your former colleagues, chris stevens and others, were killed, sean smith n benghazi and a lot of questions were raised, again today at the homeland security committee on the hill, about why marines are not present in a place, a mission like benghazi and, in fact, marines were not present in tripoli and the response from the administration has been, we don't have marines at all of these postings. you as the former am bass tore to iraq and other places know well the kind of security we have. first i wanted to show you, matthew olson from the national counterterrorism center acknowledging to the committee today for the first time that they do believe there was an al qaeda involvement. this wasn't simply a spontaneous response to a film trailer. let's watch this. >> a number of different
elements appear to have been involved in the attack, including individuals connected to militant groups that are prevalent in eastern libya, particularly in the benghazi area, as well, we are looking at indications that individuals involved in the attack may have had connections to al qaeda or al qaeda's affiliates, in particular al qaeda and islamic mugrab. >> this is very, very ply cated and there's going to be a lot of finger pointing. what about security at our embassies? >> well, first of all, i think much of the american public has been acclimated to the notion you have these revolutions, they're usually named after a color and then within a couple of days you have a new government in there and life seems to go on. but in a number of these countries, i think libya in particular is one of them, it's going to take a long time before you put some governmental structures in there, institutions, and frankly security forces that you can rely on. u.s. marines are not the purpose
of having u.s. marines at u.s. embassies is not to protect the perimeter. that's the responsibility of the host government. when the host government cannot do it as was in the case of iraq we brought in enormous number of contractors to man that outer perimeter. so i guess the question is, can you operate in a place like benghazi that you really don't have central government control out of tripoli, you're often dealing with militias and in that you really don't have a good sense of what the threats are out there. i'm sure they're doing some very careful investigations and i'm sure they're looking at the question of hour we need to button up even more. i want to make the point in these circumstances you cannot expect everything to be buttoned up before you do diplomacy. manage risk, get out there and try to deal with the local popula populace, kind of help them and keep your eyes very much open. so it's a very tough job. >> and we should point out, you were ambassador in macedonia
when there was violence there. you faced a potential takeover of your posting as well. you know exactly what you speak. i think we've got some pictures from those protests back in the day. >> yeah. it was a situation where we also didn't have marines and we were surrounded by 10,000 people, took down our fences, burned all our vehicles, and i was in a safe room with some 42 embassy employees, plus my then 11-year-old daughter. so yeah, it was a tough moment, but we stayed in macedonia and it was the right thing to do and i think macedonia is doing okay and part can be traced to our willingness to stay there and continue to engage in the country. >> we should point out that one of your successors, who at least has been nominated, steve becroft, has been nominated to become the ambassador to iraq. had his nomination hearing today and asked about the fact that iran is using iraqi air space to resupply assad. this was his response to senator kerry today. >> made very clear that we find
this unacceptable and we find it unhelpful and dent mental to the region and to iraq and, of course, first and foremost to the syrian people. it's something that needs to stop and that we are pressing and will continue to press until it does stop. >> you've got a mall lackey government very subject to iranian influence. what about iran's influence not only inside iraq but using iraqi air space to prop up assad? if assad is to survive and actually triumph over the opposition, that's an iranian victory. what's at stake here? >> well, i think for the iranians, a lot is at stake and things are not going well for them because i think the smart money is on assad actually not surviving. what comes later whether some kind of muslim brotherhood or other type of sectarian sunni government is hard to say, but i think the iranians see very much that their interests are not going the right direction.
their activities in iraq have been very negative for a number of years. they were the ones supporting many of these militia groups, the same militia groups they were supporting that prime minister maliki opposed and opposed at some political cost to himself within the shia community. so i think the iranians continue to be very aggressive on the ground in iraq and now they're aggressive in the overflight. now we've known for some years that iraq does not control its air space. it does not have, you know, interceptor aircraft that can go up and take care of its air space. so there is a definite problem there. and i'm sure it is something that's going to move very much to the top of the agenda in trying to deal with. >> chris hill, thanks so much. as always. and we'll be right back with more politics. the romney campaign, is it looking for a re-set button? or . i love new technology, so when i heard that american express and twitter were teaming up, i was pretty interested.
conservatives about the management of his campaign, some are asking does he need to regroup? >> this really does feel like the sort of spinning you get in late october for a campaign that's going to lose, except it's starting in early september. >> joining me now is nbc news political analyst andle forrer democratic governor of pennsylvania ed rendell and republican strategist phil musser here at the table. welcome both. phil, first to you. >> >> sure. >> there has been so much criticism. we see the criticism from peggy noonan i cited, you saw what scott brown had to say, linda mcmahon, republican senate candidates in blue states are running as fast as they can away from what he said at that fund-raiser about the 47%. >> well, look, i think the governor himself said the words were not artfully comprised and composed. mitt romney will be a president for 100% of the country. he has a big vision to do it. it's been a tough week and a half of process stories for the campaign, but, you know, as we
go forward we have to remember we're right in this race. we have 48 days to go, a lot of really big important events, chances for governor romney to outline a very clear, distinct vision and in some ways the brouhaha sharpens the choice, confronting the country. polling suggests this is going to be a big question election, big questions about the direction of the economy, big questions about job creation, big questions about the role of government versus free enterprise and to the degree this is going to last seven or eight days is teed that up and sharpnd it, could play to our advantage. >> in fact, in our new nbc news "wall street journal" poll, president obama for the first time is tied with mitt romney on who could better handle the economy, but to your point, erick erickson was on npr and governor rendelle, want to play this for you, because he was suggesting as well on npr on morning edition today, this could play in governor romney's -- to governor romney's benefit. >> i like the fact that he's tackling this issue. he's been very, very shallow on
the campaign trail on policy and here he is actually talking ate an entitlement, the growth of government dependency, the number of people now is astronomical on needing government help. >> does that sharpened message about small government versus big government help him in large parts of the country? >> first of all, i agree with phil about his analysis of the election. this is very similar and mark halperin made this point, similar to john kerry, six, seven points behind in late september, people beating up on his campaign, one good debate performance changed it all around and made it a cliffhanger all the way to the end. so this isn't over by any means. i also want to say that phil and erick erickson deserve an a-plus for spinning but must be out of their minds. in any way, shape, or form say what governor romney was overheard saying helped, is ludicrous. he showed a callous disregard and almost a contempt for 47% of america, most of whom work.
among that 47% who don't pay taxes, andrea is 45 million workers who make less than $19,000 and don't pay taxes as a result. 12 million senior citizens who are disabled folks who don't pay taxes as a result. this was a callous disregard and it was a very good window into the philosophy not only of mitt philosophy not only of mitt romney or the republican party as it stands today and why the scott browns and the linda mcmahons are fleeing at jet warp speed from the comment. >> phil, what about the fact that in fact this 40% plus of those who don't pay federal income taxes pay payroll taxes, withholding and don't make enough money to pay the taxes? >> that's right. governor, i wasn't defending necessarily the series of word choice. >> this is the sentiment. >> it's more than word choice but a look in to his soul.
>> i pivot off of that and say look at the tape that we heard from president obama today talking about how he used government policy and tools of government to redistribute wealth. if you look at did -- >> that's not exactly what he was talking about. >> windows in to the soul an accuse governor romney of a callous disregard for 47% of america and not true and i have great respect for governor rendell. he served with governor romney and knows that's not where the man's heart is and you have to be fair and say if that's the case, president obama certainly pursued policies in office to show directionally that this is a big choice for our country about someone to put government at the center of what they do in terms of growth plan for the economy or creating private sector opportunity for all, bringing the people to be out of the 47% the opportunity to do it through a private enterprise route, not through government and that's what's on the line
here. >> governor, quickly, could you respond? >> last 25 years seen the richest 1% grow in the wemt and wages by 281%. the poorest grow 16%. we do need to do something about that. president obama's right. but look. the mitt romney of 2004 was a different person than the mitt romney today. it's shocking that he could have made that statement. and he made it in such a way that it was a callous disregard, almost a contempt, for people in the 47%. it's shocking. i am truly stunned. that's not the mitt romney i know. that's not the mitt romney i know. >> come on, governor. >> we have to leave this there. >> i say with regard and point out the governor's had a couple of good whoppers over time, too. he was probably trying to be more political analyst. >> thank you both very much. >> thanks. we'll be right back. man 1: t talk. tell me your plan... and what it means for me. woman 2: i'm tired of the negative ads and political spin.
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tamron hall has a look at what's next. >> great to see you. coming up, governor mitt romney in just a few hours face to face with questions from the public about his 47% comment. where he referred to americans as vicks he is not worried about. romney at a meet and greet candidate's forum in miami, florida. by the way, florida fourth among nonincome taxpayers and 18% of the residents receive medicare checks. we'll see how it turns out for governor romney. and chris van hollen will join me to talk about the double triple down on the comments and the latest poll numbers out. we're also following big breaking news in the trayvon martin case. we're up in three. about this country?what ie trick question. i love everything about this country! including prilosec otc. you know one pill each morning treats your frequent heartburn so you can enjoy all this great land of ours has to offer like demolition derbies. and drive thru weddings.
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